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Christine Winmar

"Brolga Dreaming" by Christine Winmar 1


Hand-Painted Noongar Art

Artist: Christine Winmar

Region: Perth, WA

Size: 158 x 53 cm

Christine Winmar is a Noongar woman, born in Midland, Western Australia, in 1965. Her skin name is ‘Allawah’, an Aboriginal word meaning "Stay here".  Christine was taught to paint by her father, a renowned artist and didgeridoo craftsman. He taught her many aspects and techniques of Noongar art, which is reflected in her work today. Christine then began experimenting with different styles and techniques with the support of her family and friends.

 Christine has also spent a few years in the Kimberley, where she further developed her skills by adopting the techniques of Aboriginals in the Northern Territory.

 By 1997, Christine had been selling her works through an Aboriginal art gallery in Perth.  Her first joint exhibition followed shortly after, in 2005, she and fellow artists Mingi May Barnes, Geoff Lindsey, and Tjinanginy exhibited in Perth and Cottesloe. 

 In 2009 Christine exhibited her work with various other artists in Perth and San Francisco in the “Colours of Australia” exhibition.

 Christine works with media such as canvas, pottery, wood, and glass. She often uses dots to create bright and colorful patterns.

The meanings behind her artwork

Sometimes called native companions or Australian cranes, these grey birds are beautiful dancers, famous for their elaborate performances which appear to be for both pleasure and as a part of their mating ritual.  The Aboriginal people have immortalized their graceful steps through dance. In vocal birds, the females also make a trumpeting sound while dancing.  They look very elegant, moving across the plains; the freedom contained within their dance spreads and radiates joy and spontaneity. Get ready for a celebration if Brolga delicately steps into the arena of your life!

 In a well-known Dreaming about Brolga, she was a beautiful girl obsessed with dancing.  A wirrinun (shaman) wanted her for his wife, but she refused, as she refused all men. Dancing was her love, and nothing else distracted her.  He harboured resentment until one day, seeing her dancing alone on the plain, he takes his chance, changes himself into a willy-willy (small whirlwind), and sweeps her into it with the intention of abducting her.  The Great Spirit intervenes, and she is transformed into Brolga as we see her today.  She is still dancing.

Brolga emphasizes the ability you have to pursue creative interests and talents and still be supported. The girl was provided for by her tribe and allowed to practice skills, even though they were unnecessary for physical survival. Also, as a rare token of esteem, she was permitted to dance in the men’s corroborees. Brolga, perhaps the first career woman, strongly emphasizes going for your dream and expressing yourself creatively on a professional level.  All it requires is a belief in the Self and an investment of time – the evidence that self-expression can work is stamped out in Brolga’s dance!

 It is obvious that the Brolga symbolizes creativity, especially in terms of dance and self-expression.  Brolga was a very good dancer; she loved it, and all her energies went into it.  What are you good at in your life?   Brolga dances the elegant dance of creative expression and asks you to join her..